PENINSULA SPOTLIGHT: Olympic Art Festival brightens wintry days

QUILCENE — A trip to this town Saturday is a headlong dive into a vivid world of art. And because there’s a festival going on, the day will be replete with painters painting and other artists demonstrating.

The fourth annual Olympic Art Festival and sale, with 18 artists attending, is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Olympic Art Gallery, 40 Washington St. at U.S. Highway 101.

On display will be some 400 works of art, suitable for holiday giving, with many priced below $51, said Sally Brown, co-owner of the nonprofit gallery. Most participating artists, she added, have trimmed 10 to 25 percent off their prices for this event.

Admission is free to the festival, and Brown is encouraging people across the North Olympic Peninsula to visit the Quilcene gallery, meet local artists and watch them in action.

Amy Weber of Hansville is among the Olympic Art Gallery constellation. She’ll show images of ecosystems that mix all manner of animals — octopuses and seahorses, puffer fish and goldfinches — in tableaux soaked in summer-bright color.

Patricia Taynton, by contrast, does photorealistic watercolors depicting big, powerful creatures, from a horse frolicking in ocean waves to a tiger eyeing a sunlit moth.

Taynton plans to demonstrate her technique on Saturday, as does Christine Witte, an engineering manager at the Boeing Co. and a painter.

Other unusual pieces at the festival include game boards by Wanda Jaramillo, wine-barrel art by Ed Burks, cedar-bark sculptures by Marlien Hennen and painted saws and mirrors by Linda Vliet. Gates, railings and hand-forged home decor by Brown and her husband Charlie are also part of the event, as are turned bowls, bronze sculptures and a sea of watercolors.

The gallery’s event, besides being a sale, is a chance to connect and converse with artists — about inspiration, beauty, and life on this tip of the continent.

“I attempt to make art that has some value in this world beyond a monetary one,” Weber writes in her artist’s statement. “If all else fails, I like to make work that illustrates the beauty and simplicity of a centered connection with that which is eternal.”

Her paintings are meditative scenes, showing diverse life forms, sharing one space.

In each, Weber seeks to evoke “a miniature representation of the universe.”

To find out more about the Olympic Art Gallery and Saturday’s gathering, visit www.olympicart or phone 360-765-0200.

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